IN PHOTOS: Police simulate terror attack on Cubao bus terminal
MANILA, Philippines – What would happen if terrorists planted a bomb, went on a shooting rampage, and took hostages in public transportation hub Cubao in Quezon City?
About 100 cops of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) tried to answer that question during a simulation exercise (SIMEX) that lasted for an hour at the old Araneta Center Bus terminal.
"The terrorist threat has turned into reality. From last year's Marawi siege in the Philippines caused by ISIS-inspired Maute Group. It has come to our very doorsteps," the voice of QCPD operations chief Superintendent Ramon Pranada thundered throughout the transportation complex, signaling the start of the exercise.
At 9:35 am, a bomb "exploded" at the Araneta bus station, prompting a pair of policemen to respond to the scene.
Two armed men – Suspect A and Suspect B – confronted the cops, triggering a gunfight. The cops shot down Suspect A but Suspect B got on a bus and held its passengers hostage.
During the shootout, emergency medical response teams arrived to assist the injured. There were also K-9 units that checked for other planted bombs.
Police were able to detect one improvised explosive device. Assisted by a newly purchased bomb-isolating robot, the QCPD explosives division operatives dismantled the IED.
At 10:15 am, the police placed the transportation terminal on total lockdown.
Police held a hostage negotiation with Suspect B, who demanded the release of a detained terrorist and a conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The suspect gave a 15-minute deadline for his demands to be met or he would begin shooting hostages. It was assumed that he would not compromise.
With the supposed unreasonable demand, police decided to take out Suspect B through a sniper.
"With clearance from the Crisis Management Center Chairman as recommended by the Incident Commander, the Ground Commander gave a signal for the final option with the SWAT sniper to initiate the assault," Pranada narrated.
After shooting down Suspect B, police operatives stormed the bus to liberate hostages one by one for their debriefing.
A medical team tried to revive Suspect B and sent him to a nearby hospital but he was declared dead-on-arrival. The SIMEX ended by 10:30 am.
In his evaluation, QCPD director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar declared the SIMEX a "success."
While Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde said that there was still "room for improvement" like the response time of cops, Eleazar said the exercise was done to determine and address the government's weak points. – Rappler.com